Artists - Bridging Meaning in Niagara Project

Meet the artists who have been chosen to celebrate the meaning of Canada in Niagara through art.

Emily Andrews

Emily Andrews

Multi-media artist, painter, sculptor, actress, and musician, living in Niagara Falls, bringing art and music together.

Emily works in a wide variety of media, including painting, drawing, collage, sculpture and public art installation. Her style varies with each project but mainly circles around surrealism and realism.

Through her art and music, Emily is very active in Niagara, participating in events such as Niagara Night of Art and In the Soil.

In 2012, the Ontario Trillium Foundation chose her as an artist in residence and in 2014 she was the recipient of the Allister Young Arts and Culture Endowment Fund.

Her first solo exhibition, Not All There, debuted in 2014 and featured a series of surrealistic oil paintings, which explore the dichotomy of chaos and control through a unique method of painting.

Her most recent series, Far From Ordinary: A Series of Dreamscapes Made With Very Precise Slices, features surrealistic, hand-cut photo collages depicting scenes of pure absurdity and beautiful madness between animals and humans.

Emily has a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts from Brock University.

Visit Emily Andrews' website

Cosmo Condina

Cosmo Condina

Photographer, published commemorative and architectural heritage collections, active member of American Travel Writers, Niagara born and raised.

A professional photographer since 1985, Cosmo Condina is known for his subtle, and beautiful travel images. His photographic journeys have taken him across Canada, U.S.A., Mexico, Caribbean, Europe, New Zealand and Morocco.

On his first trip to Europe in his early twenties, Cosmo took the opportunity to visit the famous art galleries. He immersed himself in the original artwork from the period of the Renaissance and the Impressionists which influenced his photography.

His sense of design also comes from his schooling as a graphic artist. As an associate photographer with Getty Images since 1990, and also Alamy, SuperStock, Robert Harding and Stock Connection, Cosmo's work is licensed for commercial and editorial use worldwide.

Corporations that have used his images for advertising include American Express, Visa, United Airlines, Molson's Brewery, Ontario Savings Bonds and Fuji Film.

His first published book in 1984 was on Niagara-on-the-Lake, the first Capital of Upper Canada, as a bicentennial tribute. Other publications are Niagara at War 1812 and Early Architecture of the Town and Townships of Niagara.

Cosmo was one of the founding members of the StockArtistsAlliance, a professional stock photography trade organization. He is also an active member of Society of American Travel Writers.

He continues to live in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Visit Cosmo Condina's website

Luke Gillett

Luke Gillett

Videographer, audio artist, image and mural designer, photographer, production designer of all things digital or analogue.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Luke Gillett, spent his younger years working with his father in furniture and industrial outdoor fixture sales and design before moving to Niagara to go to school for Graphic Design at Niagara College.

He works across many disciplines combining skills in audio, video, still image and design production with various forms of dissemination both digital and analogue.

Notable are: the Trius Tasting Stars experience, an audio visual experience designed to enhance to the winery's sparkling tour and the Lowery Family barn mural at Ravine Winery, a painted mural that iconizes the four generations of the Lowery family that have owned the property since Canada's confederation.

He is also an accomplished event photographer having photographed events with Prince Charles and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau among many others. He helped launch and brand Backhouse Restaurant, the Niagara Jazz Festival and Haste and Hustle Marketing Conference.

He has sat on boards for the St. Catharines Arts Committee, Niagara Food Festival and Niagara Jazz Festival.

Visit Luke Gillett's website

Sandy Middleton

Sandy Middleton

Professional photographer, fine artist, set and interior decorator, communicator, entrepreneur.

Sandy Middleton has worked as both an artist and photographer for over 25 years, having graduated from Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Applied Arts in still photography and continuing her education and work in the design field.

Currently her practice has been focused on images that deal with identity, memory and found and natural materials. She works in analogue and digital photography as well as encaustic medium and printing on wood and metal.

She was recently nominated for a 2016 St. Catharines Arts Award in the category of Established Artist and has received several grants from the Ontario Arts Council.

As an active member of the Niagara Arts community she has sat on boards such as the Niagara Artists Centre, the Culture Committee for the City of St. Catharines and as the Chair of the St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program.

Additionally, Sandy was a partner at the Jordan Art Gallery for four years and has shown her work throughout Niagara and by galleries and arts fairs in Toronto, such as Art Toronto and Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.

Visit Sandy Middleton's website

Leona Skye

Leona Skye

Visual artist, native artist, mother, model, Mohawk / Ojibway Pic River. "Bim osay- onay quet-quet": She who walks with Clouds.

Leona Skye was born the eldest of three children in 1968. Her father was a pencil and ink surrealist artist, and her mother a pastels, ink, oil and acrylic realism painter.

Leona followed her parents' different techniques eventually finding her own style at the age of 17, with emotionally attached pieces representing the here and now - the you and me connections.

"I found my works were greater with a live character personality" which soon escalated into touch and energy paintings. "What I do is to ask you to hold my hands as I feel the deepness of your energies through colours, from there I paint - I have no idea what the canvas will bring to light. I just paint. Every piece is different."

Leona's works are being displayed worldwide: a hand painted drum in a Native themed museum in Scotland; a large piece displayed in Queens Park, Toronto; a large piece at Kahurangi Dance Studio, New Zealand and Indonesia; and pieces in Japan, Switzerland, England, Florida, Utah and California.

"Most of my paintings are usually sold before completion, and are directly and completely all my emotions."

A strong Native vibe, completed with the pure feminine energies, is what draws hundreds of people yearly to view her works, with a large fan base growing daily. Every piece has a story, every colour a meaning, every stroke a touch.

Surrounded by a strong artist community, she shares in live art shows with some of southern Ontario, Canada, and the world's most recognized artists, continually growing and creating with the support of her peers and community.

Kim Van Stygeren

Kim Van Stygeren

Mixed media artist, fine painter, craftswoman, and designer, working in oil on canvas, metals, and 3d structures.

For over 30 years Kim has been a professional practising artist. Her early work focused on contemporary portraiture, narrowing in on the traits in humanity that she celebrates - strength, grace, intelligence, humour.

Canadian portrait subjects include executive producer Moses Znaimer, architect Eberhart Zeidler, astronaut Dr Roberta Bondar, philanthropist Walter Carsen, artist Agnes Martin, actors Mike Myers and Michael J. Fox.

Kim has lived in Paris and New York, and worked as a designer and craftswoman for elite clientele in Europe, China and the US in high end residential and retail like Armani, Chanel, David Yurman, and Tiffany's.

Dedicated to giving back to the community she has called home for 25 years, Kim has focused on the arts and culture in Niagara since 2010. Most recently she has taken a position as Cultural Program Assistant for the City of Niagara Falls.

Her artwork is in collections worldwide as well as two museum collections.

Visit Kim Van Stygeren's website


This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada. Ce projet est financé en partie par le gouvernement du Canada.

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